Foldable smart phones to grow 55% in 2023, new models to make them affordable

Date: 25/05/2023
While it is not a good start for smart phones markets in the year 2023, foldable smart phones are seeing a decent growth. Market researcher TrendForce projected smart phone market size to fall short of 1.2 billion units in 2023, whereas in case of foldable smart phones, TrendForce estimates shipments to reach 19.8 million units in 2023, a year over year growth rate of 55% compared to 12.8 million units in 2022.

Foldable smart phones are highly expensive due to the cost of LCD display and other foldable related components such as hinges. TrendForce says OLED organic materials currently account for approximately 23% of the cost of foldable smartphone OLED panels.

Samsung has a strong lead in foldable smartphone market where it holds 70% of market share according to TrendForce, where it is estimated to have shipped around 13 million foldable smart phones. Samsung expected to launch its new its next-generation Fold/Flip 5 in late July-August 2023 featuring larger cover display, setting it apart from the previous generation.

On the Chinese smart phone vendors' competition in this area TrendForce says "Chinese brands like Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and Honor have all joined the race for foldable smartphones. Huawei’s Pocket S, released in 2022, has seen a warm reception in the consumer market, thanks to its appealing design and competitive pricing, despite being equipped with a 4G processor. Last year, Huawei’s market share stood at around 10% and is expected to approach 20% this year. Other Chinese brands hold around 3–5% market share in the foldable smartphone sector. If they can extend their foldable devices into global channels, their sales volumes are expected to rise even further."

On the other models in the market, TrendForce says:
At present, the market is focused on the recently released Google Pixel Fold, which features a 7.6-inch 2208x1840 resolution OLED panel and a 5.8-inch 2092x1080 resolution OLED panel for the cover display. Transsion, a company with a longstanding presence in the African market, introduced its first foldable smartphone, the Phantom V Fold, earlier this year.

With an increasing number of brands expected to venture into foldable smartphone production, TrendForce estimates the market penetration of foldable phones to be around 1.7% in 2023. With continuous improvements in cost and design, this figure is expected to surpass 5% by 2027.

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